Know Your Worth

by Kathleen Bokrossy, RDH

Heading into the third year of the pandemic, many dental hygienists are feeling frustrated, beat down and overworked.

There is no doubt that we are experiencing a shortage of dental hygienists. You just Google the topic and find many articles and surveys conducted; however, it is not just our field in which people are getting up and leaving or changing careers. There is a global shift amongst many industries and fields.

I often see the frustration being shared through social media. Many dental hygienists are feeling overworked and underpaid. If you would like to feel valued by receiving a wage that you think would be fair and would bring you financial contentment, self-assess your position in your practice by considering these actions:

Show your value. You are a dental hygienist who is working very hard and worth every bit of your wage. If you take a pro-active approach, self-assess, know how to communicate, and share your
findings and your worth, you may be surprised by the positive outcome!

Be a problem solver. Practice owners must constantly think, plan and make decisions. There is a cognitive load on the owner. How can you lighten the cognitive load to those you work for/with?

Bring the answers. Every practice has problems. Are you the problem solver or the problem bringer? Come with solutions. Be a solution maker. Don’t even come with questions. Come with the answers! Reduce the cognitive load and don’t add to the decision fatigue.

Think about contributing. Are you “showing up?” Are you playing forward? Be present. Find your voice and share your thoughts. Do it with conviction and a smile. A positive mindset and attitude will get you far. Don’t convince. Compel. Believe in yourself and fight for your ideas and suggestions. Play full-out!

Volunteer more. Could you step up and lead a program? Could you be the one who researches and finds solutions?

Sometimes we need to show that we are a team player and can add more value by taking the lead in something. Have the confidence to volunteer and perhaps step out of your comfort zone and not worry whether you succeed or fail.

Take ownership. Keep everyone updated if you are working on something so that no one has to wonder, second guess or follow-up. Be the one to share the status.

Have an ambitious positive mindset. A can-do attitude goes a long way. Be an engine, not an anchor.

If after trying these strategies things aren’t changing, perhaps this practice isn’t for you. And that’s okay! We spend a third of our life at work, so you better be happy! There are many practices looking for you!

About the Author

Kathleen is the president of rdhu, a Professional Development company, which provides team events, hands- on programs and online learning to help Transform the Dental Hygiene Experience for the clinician, the client/patient and the practice.